Group Study

If you want to study Unchurching: Christianity Without Churchianity with a group, this outline can help. It divides the book into 7 study sessions, which will take about 7-9 weeks to complete, assuming your group has one session per week. (There are also two optional group meetings which aren't study sessions.)

Each session covers an average of 25 pages of text, though the actual page count might seem longer. That's because blank pages (which are part of the book's layout) are ignored when calculating the number of pages to read for each session.


Individual study time

Don’t wait until the last minute and try to cram a week's worth of study, just prior to a meeting. That won't give you enough time to ruminate, or look up Bible verses, or make thoughtful study notes.

Group participation

Everyone should participate as equals. It defeats the purpose of the book to look to an individual as your group's leader.

Not just educational, but relational

Please consider hosting these meetings around a group meal, or at least have some kind of snacks and drinks available.

The Outline

Optional Group Session: Introductions 

For this optional session, a group meal is highly recommended

  • Share personal stories about each person's church experience

  • After the meal, distribute copies of Unchurching

  • Look over this outline together

Session 1

Pages 5–34 (25 pages of text)

  • Foreword by Jon Zens

  • A Crisis of Faith

  • A Peculiar People

  • The Community of God

  • The Image of God

Optional Individual activity

Co-housing isn’t the only way to create community. But we can probably learn a few things from people who are pursuing community this way. Before the next meeting, watch this commercial and also watch all the videos in this playlist.

Assuming co-housing isn’t an option (or simply not desirable) for you, what are some other ways you can create community? Write down your ideas and share them during the next meeting.

Session 2

Pages 35–59 (24 pages of text)

  • The Fall

  • Redemption

  • Sharing Their Possessions

  • Sharing Their Gifts

  • Sharing Their Faith

Session 3

Pages 61–90 (27 pages of text)

  • Parents and Children

  • Fathers and Mothers

  • One Set of Parents

  • Imaginary Positions

  • Ephesians 4


Before the next meeting, read this article about the concept of a "legal personality" (including the section about its history) and be prepared to discuss what you find. Some questions to consider:

  • Have you ever questioned whether churches should be corporations?

  • Is it possible to be a church today, without the corporate structure?

  • If so, what would the benefits be?

Session 4

Pages 91–115 (24 pages of text)

  • Maturing

  • Spiritual Authority

  • Putting It All Together

  • Moving Backward

  • Church Family

  • Church Corporations

  • Counting the Cost

Session 5

Pages 117–144 (25 pages of text)

  • Command and Control

  • An Old Testament Example

  • A New Testament Alternative

  • Gender Inequality

  • Crowds versus Congregations

Session 6

Pages 145–175 (26 pages of text)

  • The Jesus Store

  • The Least of These

  • Raising Veal

  • Measuring Success

  • Identity Theft

  • Pursuing Community

  • Experiencing Worship

Optional Group Session: Video, Article, and Discussion

Get the group together and watch this 30 minute short film, Living in Community - The Movie.

Then, have someone read aloud this New York Times article, Modern Housing With Village Virtues.

As a group, discuss what you could or couldn't give up, in order to experience more community.

  • Could you give up your current job?

  • Could you give up your house?

  • Could you give up your kids' school?

This doesn’t have to be a discussion about co-housing, per se.  It can simply be a discussion of what it might cost to move toward a genuine shared spiritual life with others, and what you might get in return.

Session 7

Pages 177–203 (25 pages of text)

  • Receiving Power

  • The Priesthood of All Believers

  • Christ Alone

  • In My Defense

  • The Church Exodus

  • Your Own Exodus